Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Climate prediction: No model for success

I think we've got a meme folks. Yesterday, in "Climate Models and Modeling" we took a look at some of the limitations that are baked into climate models.
Today's headline is from the BBC, who continue:

Cloudy sky. Image: Science Photo Library
The response of clouds to warming
is one of the biggest "known unknowns"

Pier Luigi Vidale smiles fondly as he gazes at the image unfolding on his screen.

It is a rare and beautiful view of Planet Earth.

Curlicues of cloud formations swirl around the Antarctic at the bottom of the screen as if captured by time-lapse photography.

The image resembles a view of the Earth from space, stretched full frame.

But a small yellow ball scudding along the bottom of the screen hints at another story.

The ball is the Sun, heating the surface as it passes and provoking a daily puff of cloud from the Amazon rainforest in this computer-generated climate model.

The animation comes from research led by Dr Vidale at Reading University's Walker Institute.

It is designed to provide long-term data to help scientists distinguish between heating trends and natural climatic fluctuations.

This week, about 150 of the world's top climate modellers have converged on Reading for a four day meeting to plan a revolution in climate prediction....MORE